LED fixtures solved a big problem for the owner of a historic building who wanted to convert it into a popular night club in Ybor City, a historic entertainment district in Tampa, Fl.
John Landsman, of Directions Media, handled the lighting design for the former Knights of the Golden Eagle social hall, built in 1930 and renamed the Castle. The building, designed to look like a castle, included offices, a saloon and a ballroom available for weddings, birthday parties and other events, Landsman said of the 12,000-square-foot structure.
“Instead of having to add a full large electrical service to a historic building, we were able to add a small service by switching out conventional lighting to LEDs,” he said. The improvement also saved money on electric bills and allowed club owner Alan Kahana to improve the air conditioning system, said Landsman, who formerly worked at the club and now consults on technical issues.
In the early 1900s, Ybor City was known as the “cigar capital of the world,” drawing in immigrants to work in its cigar factories. But following the Great Depression, the popularity of cigarettes and suburbanization after World War II, the city emptied and was left to languish. In the 1960s, urban renewal projects led to the bulldozing of homes, businesses and factories to make way for an Interstate highway. But in the 1990s, the remaining buildings were named to the National List of Historic Places to be preserved and the area became a tourist attraction and hot spot for nightlife.
Kahana reopened the saloon in 1992 and three years later, renovated the remainder of the building to create the dance club. The interior look is a romantic-Gothic theme with a “glam” Dungeon, Landsman said. The old patio is now the courtyard whose centerpiece is a spectacular Banyan tree. The Saloon remains and a smaller bar area upstairs is called the Red Room.
The lighting installation, completed in August, came from CHAUVET® manufacturer representatives Bay Stage Lighting and Sam Ash, both located in Tampa. Landsman added 16 MiN Spots to highlight the ballroom. Programming of the intelligent fixtures came from Brett Lorins, who gave the Castle very versatile lighting looks for the varied events. Twenty-nine LEDrain fixtures create column-like beams down the perimeter walls. The Ballroom features a V-shaped bar over which hangs a massive Dahl De Vere glass tile chandelier
“We played off the building and architectural elements,” Landsman said. “We wanted to contrast a high-touch interior with high-tech lights and video to give people something to talk about after they leave.”
The 3,800 square-foot Dungeon incorporated 18 CHAUVET LED COLORpalette fixtures with a DMX-512 controller that changes the color of the room. “Everything changes color – when it’s blue, everything is blue, when red, everything is red,” he said.
The Castle, complete with a working mote incorporated into a marble bar top, has become popular with a diverse audience, Landsman said. The Castle was recently voted Best Dance Club in Tampa by readers of Creating Loafing Magazine.
Kahana and Landsman are looking at duplicating the nightclub in other cities. The men were so impressed with the service and prices from CHAUVET, that they plan to continue their partnership with the company.
“We are currently looking in Las Vegas and other cities for other Castles,” Landsman said. “And we will use 100 percent CHAUVET Lighting when we do.”